Pet Travel: Three Steps to a Pet-Safe Vacation

steps to a pet friendly vacation
When contemplating travel, few people imagine their animals as potential companions. Bringing pets can complicate traveling in numerous ways, such as trying to fit bathroom breaks in during short layovers or obtaining certificates and other documents for traveling to certain locations with pets.

However, if you are the kind of pet parent that loves experiencing new places with their four-legged family members, safe and pet-friendly adventures are certainly within reach. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure the health and safety of your pet for your next adventure.

1. Plan Far in Advance

Traveling with a pet takes plenty of planning. You must be sure to pack everything your pet could potentially need including any special food, medication, toys, leashes, collars, and other essentials. You will also need to take the time to prepare your pet for travel. Many animals will not take kindly to an upheaval in their routine and will need to be trained for safe, comfortable travel.

If you are planning to fly, contact the airline to confirm their rules about pet travel. Some airlines will not allow animals, and others only permit pets in the cargo hold. Each pet-friendly airline will have certain rules about carrier specifications.

Of course, most pet parents avoid placing their pets in cargo when possible. The cargo hold itself is typically safe; however, the hours spent on the ground waiting for the flight to leave may expose your pet to extreme conditions. If you fail to plan a flight far enough in advance, you may find your trip canceled.

If you’re traveling by car, you should map your route to ensure enough stops for your pet to get out, stretch, and relieve themselves. You should also take proper >safety precautions. Larger pets should have a seat belt harness to protect against car accidents, while smaller pets can benefit from a car seat.

2. Research Your Destination

Before traveling to a new place with your pet, you should be sure to research your destination to gauge pet-friendliness. Key things to look for include pet-friendly accommodations, parks, and businesses, as well as a nearby vet in case of an emergency.

Research is particularly important when traveling abroad. Each country has specific laws dictating the importation of animals. You may need a pet passport, blood test results, a microchip, or other documentation just to leave the airport with your pet.

Some countries have quarantine periods that last as long as several months. You must do your research before attempting to bring your pet to a new country, or your pet could end up in quarantine without you for an extended period.

3. Know When to Leave Your Pet at Home

Even if it is your life goal to bring your pet everywhere you go, there are some trips that just aren’t worth the risk. Frequent travel can be very stressful for animals that thrive on routine, and some countries’ laws are less than accommodating.

It is important to know that you can leave your pet in good hands while you travel. There are plenty of freelance pet sitters and walkers that would love nothing more than to spoil your pet while you are away. Though it can be upsetting to leave your travel companion behind, sometimes it’s in your pet’s best interests.

Pet travel may be more complicated than going alone. When you truly love your pet, it sometimes feels impossible to leave them behind. Your pet can stay safe during trips with careful planning and research, though there are some instances when a pet sitter may be a better idea. Whatever you decide to do, always prioritize your pet’s safety, health, and comfort.

Author: Jessica Brody,
Image by Pixabay by Tess deGroot

BVA Recommends Tick Treatments and Limits on Pet Imports to the UK

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is calling for the reinstatement of regulations calling for mandatory tick treatments for all cats and dogs traveling to the United Kingdom under the Pet Travel Scheme between 24 and 48 hours of import. This request is due to outbreaks of Babesia canis, a disease carried by ticks that are not native to the UK. This requirement was abolished in 2011 to make pet import to the UK easier and more affordable.

Additionally, the BVA is requesting that tapeworm treatments be mandatory for cats entering the UK as well. Presently, a tapeworm treatment must be administered to all dogs only entering the UK from any country within one to five days of import.

Both of these restrictions would address the spread of zoonotic disease in the UK that is currently being experienced.

In an effort to address the increasing number of illegally imported puppies to the country, the BVA is calling for a revision to the number of pets to five per vehicle as opposed to five per person which is currently in force. Further, the number of puppies under six months of age would be reduced to two per vehicle.

This recommendation comes from mounting pressure on Defra to address the number of underage puppies being imported to the UK to meet public demand.

More info here.

Current regulations to import pets to the United Kingdom can be found here and will be revised should legislation be changed:

UPDATE – April 27, 2917 – Animal Health Groups declare Tick Awareness Month to apply pressure to reinstate tick treatment for dogs and cats entering the United Kingdom.

Pet Travel – Red-Eared Slider Turtle Ban in the UK

pet travel to UK with turtleFor owners of red-eared slider turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans), pet travel regulations regarding this turtle when entering the United Kingdom may be affected after the EU Commission published its new list of species of EU wide concern, as part of the Invasive Alien Species Regulation.

This breed of turtle has been banned for sale, exchange or breeding in the UK. The legislation will be effective in one year.

It is yet to be determined whether an amendment to EU legislation regarding pet import will be issued that will ban the entry of this turtle to the UK.

How Brexit Will Affect Pet Travel

British Bulldog and affects on pet travel by BrexitThe recent Brexit vote by the Brits to leave the European Union will have little effects on pet travel in the near term. The current import requirements for cats, dogs and ferrets will remain intact. (Find them here) What will change is the ease that EU-Member State pet owners will have traveling to and from the United Kingdom.

More concerning is that the UK will not be bound to EU legislation and may strengthen their requirements for pet import. This is likely to happen in some form considering the pressure the government is receiving from animal welfare and rescue organizations struggling to handle abandoned and unwanted dogs as well as problems they are having with the illegal puppy trade.

EU Pet Passports will either be rendered useless or will need to be reissued in the UK, and their status for entering the EU are in question. Will they be universally accepted by the EU or will the Annex form, which is only good for 4 months, will be required?

The UK will need to apply to the European Commission for consideration to be included as a non-EU listed country (otherwise known as a Third country). This is likely to happen as the UK is considered a rabies-free country by many countries in the world and their status with the World Organization for Animal Health is in good standing.

Pet travelers need to be informed of any changes that will happen in the next year as the UK readies itself to divest. We will post all changes in legislation, so stay tuned!


Pet Travel USDA Endorsement of Forms in New York

USDA logoUser Tip: Pet Travel USDA Endorsement of Forms in New York State

Recently, we heard from one of our pet owners, Nick, who was traveling from New York and needed USDA endorsement of his pet’s documentation.

I came to the vet yesterday for an international travel certificate, which then needed to be certified by the USDA. We had gone to the office at JFK airport logistics center one in the past and went again yesterday. They were totally overwhelmed, and despite waiting for 5 hours I was unable to be seen.

I had to make an unexpected trip to the USDA office in Albany, which was able to help. They said that the JFK airport logistics center location is not to be used except in emergencies (and really not relied on at all) and that all future request should be sent to them (the Albany office) with prepaid return overnight shipping.

Anyways just wanted to pass the word along. It will save others some extreme aggravation.

Thanks for passing this along to other pet owners, Nick! We appreciate your feedback.

The Pet Travel Team

Tips on How to Keep Your Pet Calm on July 4th

Dog Hiding on July 4Have a dog or cat that freaks out when the fireworks begin? Try these tips for keeping you both calm during the evening.

  • Keep to your pet’s schedule as much as possible. Pets can sense a change in schedule and that can bring on feelings of anxiety.
  • Give your dog or cat plenty of exercise before the fireworks begin. Tiring them out may encourage them to rest during the show. Also, make sure they are walked so you don’t have to take them outside later.
  • Taking your pet to a fireworks display is not a good idea. Stay at home with them. The comfort and security that you can offer them will make a difference, despite the fact that it may appear that nothing will calm them.
  • Bring them inside and close all the doors and windows. Although that won’t eliminate the noise, it will help to bring it down a notch.
  • Make some noise of your own – turn up the television or radio. Although your pet’s hearing is better than yours, the sounds may be a distraction and lessen their attention on the booms outside.
  • Don’t discourage their behavior. Give them places to hide if that is what they want to do. Hide with them if you can fit.
  • Wrap them up in a blanket or large t-shirt if they will let you. The bundling can lessen anxiety in some dogs.
  • Be a role model. Your behavior will play a large part in your pet’s comfort. Stay calm yourself.
  • If you feel that your pet suffers despite your efforts, you can talk to your vet about a tranquilizer, Benadryl or an all natural pet calmer.

When it is all over, tell them so. “All done” is something everybody understands. Give them a treat to celebrate and have a great holiday together.

Irish Ferries Gets Very Pet Friendly

Pet Friendly Irish FerriesIn May, 2018, Irish Ferries will launch a 50,000 ton ship with 435 cabins many of which will include suites with their own private external balconies, bars, restaurants (both á la carte and self-service options), cinemas, shops, (most importantly) onboard facilities for pets and dedicated lounge areas for Club Class passengers and freight drivers.

The new ferry will likely serve longer haul routes between Dublin and Holyhead midweek, and between Ireland and France on weekends. This will mean another option for pet owners not wanting to put their pets in cargo when flying into the Ireland if their pets conform to in-cabin requirements and could travel with their owners into another EU country and take the ferry to the UK.

Pretty exciting news! More details…

India bans dogs imported for breeding or commercial purposes

St Bernard DogIndia will no longer permit dogs to be imported for commercial or breeding purposes. The change in law by the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) was brought on by appeals by animal rights organizations noting the number of breeds surrendered due to their inability to adapt to the high temperatures of the country.

Pet owners can enter the country with their dogs with a transfer of residency without DGFT licensing. Dogs can also be imported for purposes of research or security. All dogs need a Notice of No Objection which must be applied for in India by the owner, an agent or a representative of the owner.

More details on entering India